If one of the first things that crosses your mind when interviewing a potential employee is addiction to opioids, you’re not alone. No state has been immune from opioid overdoses in recent years; however, some regions such as New England, the Mid-Atlantic states and Midwest have been hit especially hard.
But what can you do as an employer to make sure this crisis doesn’t affect your practice? Here are a few ways to identify and prevent opioid problems with potential and current employees.
Recruiting new employees
Drug testing is the best way to identify potential employees with an opioid addiction. According to the Hudson Institute reports, employers who drug test potential employees say 25 to 50 percent of qualified applicants cannot pass a drug test.
Background checks are also key in identifying a drug problem with an applicant. Simply calling references may reveal their struggle with opioids.
Maintaining current employees
Did you know there are things you can do as an employer to prevent your employees from becoming addicted to opioids?
Regular drug testing in the workplace, if you are located in a high opioid abuse area, can be essential to your human resources practices. This can reveal if an employee has a problem and support can be provided for the next steps.
Benefit plans are another way to prevent opioid addiction. When selecting your health care plans, your practice should:
- Cover and demand opioid-free options for employees.
- Ask provider networks what they are doing to reduce opioid use post-surgery.
- Educate employees about discussing alternative pain strategies with their doctor.
- Change benefit plan to steer employees to surgeons and facilities using alternatives to opioids.
- Include in- and out-patient chemical dependency benefits.
Unfortunately, with an average of 91 opioid overdoses per day, your practice will most likely encounter an applicant or employee with an opioid addiction. You can try to prevent it, but the possibility of a problem will increase as the crisis continues to grow. Your practice leadership should develop a plan for prevention that also includes how you will deal with an employee who is addicted.